15 watercolour painting ideas

15 watercolour painting ideas

Posted May 03, 2018
Tags: Blogs

We love playing around with watercolour painting and we think you will too. That’s why we’re excited to share some of our favourite watercolour ideas with you! It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned artist or you’re picking up a paint brush for the first time, anyone can try these watercolour paintings. 

1. Leaf

Monstera watercolour painting pastelandpines

Image credit: Pastel and Pines

Bring the outdoors inside with a watercolour leaf painting. These artworks add a touch of greenery to your home without the need for daily watering. Trace or draw your favourite leaf lightly with a pencil, then bring it to life with your watercolour paints. You can use water to vary the darkness of your paint to create a 3D effect like the example above.

2. Galaxy

Watercolour Galaxy Painting credit required

 Image credit: Elena Sorce

Create your own universe with galaxy painting! Simply use a paint brush to spread water evenly across a piece of watercolour paper, then paint over the top with watercolours. Once the background is dry, flick white acrylic paint on top to create a sky full of stars. If you need some pointers, watch our quick and easy Galaxy Painting tutorial on Facebook.

3. Flowers

Watercolour flower painting

While we’re on the topic of nature, flowers also make a beautiful watercolour painting subject. You can base your artwork off a flower from your garden, a bouquet you received, a book or the internet. Tulips, roses or magnolias are a great place to start because they have wide petals that are a lot of fun to paint. Watch our magnolia watercolour video tutorial for a step-by-step guide.

4. Moonscape

Moonscape watercolour credit required
Imag credit: Krystal Lee Artist

If you want to create a painting that’s out of this world, make a moonscape watercolour painting. By experimenting with water, you can create a range of spacey effects such as swirling clouds and craters. Get to know your paints by practicing on another sheet of paper first, or jump right in and see what happens!

5. Landscape

Watercolour desert landscape painting

If you’re not interested in moonscapes, let’s bring it back down to earth with landscape painting. Choose a landscape that you love and bring it to life. You can take your watercolour set outdoors and paint from sight, use a photograph from your travels, or find an image of somewhere that you love and recreate it.

6. Anime

Watercolour Anime Character

Watercolour and illustration are a match made in heaven. Unlike other paints, the translucency of watercolour paint allows you to colour in your drawing without losing your line work. To get some tips on how to draw and paint your own anime-inspired character, watch our step-by-step video tutorial.

7. Food

cake sponge levashova 1

Image credit: Levashova Art

Give your eyes something to feast on with a food watercolour painting. Whether it’s a pretty cake or a juicy burger, food artworks can make a great décor piece, gift or card design. Plus, the only ingredients you need are a paint brush, watercolour paper and watercolour paints.

8. Intricate Illustrations

Big Cat Watercolour

If you have some time on your hands, give this watercolour idea a whirl. The great thing about this style is that you can apply it to any shape or form – whether it’s a tiger, triangle, circle or leaf. Choose your subject and fill it with patterns using a pencil. Then, once the patterns are done, colour your drawing in with watercolour paints, let it dry, then go over the outline with felt tip pens. You can see this idea in action by watching our intricate tiger video tutorial.

9. Mountains

Easy Watercolour Painting

Another watercolour idea we love is mountain scenes. Create spectacular peaks by drawing or tracing your mountains, then add form and colour with your watercolour set. If you’re new to watercolour, check out our mountain painting tutorial for beginners. It takes you through some of the different brush strokes and watercolour techniques you can use to create your mountain scene.

10. Abstract

Watercolour Painting Spots

Create your own unique watercolour painting by playing with colours, shapes and different effects. Plan your pattern before you start or create it on the spot – there are plenty of ways to approach this fun watercolour idea.

11. Urban Scenes

Watercolour Street Painting credit required

Image credit: Sophie Peanut

Draw a street, town or building and bring it to life with your watercolour set. Whether you have fond memories of the place or you just like the look of it, painting an urban scene is a great way to practice and refine your drawing and watercolour skills.

12. Seascapes

aine atara far shore near watercolor original copyrighted 2

Image credit: Áine Atara

Bring the ocean home with you. Watercolour painting is the perfect medium for creating seascapes. To create different depths and effects, play around with blue and green colour combinations and add varying amounts of water. Like the ocean itself, this watercolour idea can help you to relax and unwind.

13. Whales

Whale Watercolour Painting Krystal Lee Artist 3

 Image credit: Krystal Lee

While we’re on the topic of the ocean, turtles and whales are one of our favourite animals to paint in watercolour. These creatures of the deep look beautiful with a simple outline and watercolour wash.

14. Birds

Watercolour Bird Painting


You’ll be whistling while you work with this stunning watercolour idea. With their beautiful feathers and vibrant colours, birds make a great subject for watercolour painting. You can either draw your bird freehand or trace it from a picture. Once your drawing is complete, use your watercolours to decorate your masterpiece. Some of our favourite birds to paint include hummingbirds, lorikeets and macaws.

15. Boats or Ships

Watercolour Ship Painting

Sail into a creative session with a maritime watercolour painting. There are plenty of different types of boats to choose from, so browse the internet or flick through a book to find one that you like best. We’d recommend sketching up your boat and horizon line first, then using your watercolours to add depth and colour.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or you’re just starting out, we hope these ideas inspire you to explore the world of watercolour painting. Don’t let anything hold you back – you’re in the driver’s seat of your creativity. If you’d like to share your paintings with us, feel free to tag @montmarteart or #montmarteart on social media to show us what you’ve created!

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